Recipe: Moroccan Spice Sweet Potato Stew by Michael Graves

Jay Francis, WHCA Board Member for Membership offers the following delicious Fall recipe. And, it’s vegetarian to boot. Four servings, 360 calories each, 14g protein, 70g carbohydrate, 13g fiber


Moroccan Spice Sweet Potato Stew

  • 7 tsp olive oil

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped

  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed

  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder

  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice

  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes

  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) reduced sodium vegetable broth

  • 1 cup no salt added chickpeas ( I make my own by simmering chickpeas in water until tender, after soaking overnight)

  • Several sweet potatoes equalling one pound, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces

  • 2 small zucchini, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces (what I do is make my stew but simmer the zucchini separately, in water. I then top the stew with the zucchini. So that the zucchini doesn’t disintegrate by simmering with the stew itself)

  • 1 cup couscous reconstituted with hot water per package instructions, and fluffed with 1 tablespoon of butter

In a pan, heat the oil over medium heat, add the onion and cook until tender but no more than lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Turn off heat. Stir in garlic, curry powder, cumin, and allspice and stir until combined.

Add the tomatoes, broth, beans, and sweet potato. Return to medium heat, and cook, covered for 10 minutes or until all is tender. Separately, cook the zucchini. If time is an issue, add the zucchini to the stew to cook with it.

Serve with the couscous

Jay’s Sugar Cookies by Michael Graves


Jay Francis, on the Board, representing Membership offers the following easy and delicious Sugar Cookie recipe this month:

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 6-8 minutes

Total Time: 38 minutes


  • 1 cup unsalted butter (make sure that the butter has softened at room temperature)

  • 1 cup granulated white sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

  • 1 egg

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3 cups all purpose flour


  1.  Preheat oven to 350° F.

  2. In the bowl of your mixer cream butter and sugar until smooth, at least 3 minutes.

  3. Beat in the extracts and egg.

  4. In a separate bowl combine baking powder and salt  with flour and add a little at a time to the wet ingredients. The dough will be very stiff. If it becomes too stiff for your mixer turn out the dough onto a countertop surface. Wet your hands and finish off kneading the dough by hand.

  5. There isn’t a need to chill the dough. Divide into workable batches, roll out onto a floured surface and cut. You want these cookies to be on the thicker side (closer to 1/4 inch rather than 1/8).

  6. Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes. Let them cool on the cookie sheet until firm enough to transfer to a cooling rack.

Fried Chicken Recipe by Michael Graves


The fabulous Gus’s Fried Chicken has opened on Washington Avenue. Here is my “take” on their recipe. It takes advantage of a long marinade to tenderize the chicken and a higher of amount of corn starch for extra crispness. I hope you like it.

 24 hour marinade. Begin the day before you plan to fry the chicken
(Increase these quantities, depending on how much chicken you plan to make)
1 lb (one) boneless skinless chicken breast  or thigh meat, cut into three pieces, or, double recipe ingredients for the weight of your chicken, for example, if you are using a 3-5 lb chicken cut into pieces

  • 1 cup corn starch
  • ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 cup water (note: 1 ½ cups is too much. I actually ended up with 1 ¼ cup water and poured off a little water in the morning that had gathered on top of the marinade)

Marinate for 24 hours.

Fry at 325-350 F. Use a neutral vegetable or corn oil. I do not recommend canola oil as it smells like frying fish and adds an unpleasant fish taste to fried foods.

Note, when the exterior crust looks perfect, the interior may still be uncooked. It is the curse of the larger chickens that they sell now in the grocery stores (which is why my original instructions are for a boneless skinless chicken breast). Try your best to buy a 2.5-3 lb chicken.

If it isn't spicy enough, "salt" with Tony Chachere creole seasoning. Next time you make it, increase the amount of cayenne, and/or, add chopped whole serrano chiles or habanero chiles to the marinade.

I still finish the chicken in the oven to assure that it is cooked throughout.

Temptation may be to make a thicker batter. But I think that for the crispiest crust, a thinner batter is the way to go. Just enough so that it clings.

I used to remove my chicken pieces from the marinade batter with tongs. But I found that this scraped away some of the batter. Now, I just spear the pieces with a fork and drop them into the hot oil.

You can test the quality of your batter by pouring some into the hot oil and frying it up crisp. Taste it and adjust seasonings. If it is too spongy tasting instead of crisp tasting, it may have been too thick and will need to be thinned slightly. 

- Jay Francis, VP Membership